Redheaded Rant: Stuff Shaming

Ignore the stuff-shamers - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous

Redheaded rant alert. *passes out crash helmets*

Today's Redheaded Rant is kicked off by a photo I saw on a popular minimalist's Facebook page.

Now this is lovely in theory. After all, our life is more than merely things - or at least it should be. However, we also can't properly exist in modern society without things.

We need clothing so we don't get indecent exposure tickets every time we leave the house. We need a house for the times we don't want to put on clothes. Pots to cook food in. Utensils to stir it. Plates to put it on. The list is quite extensive. 

While we may or may not "need" much, we do need things.

Now let's look break down where the sentiments in this photo goes awry:

  • Could the deceased afford the couch? Did they love the couch? Who cares how much it cost?!?! When you consider how much time is potentially spent on the couch for Netflix binges, spontaneous naps, indulging in something delicious while wrapped up in a soft, nubby, blanket, chatting with friends and family. The list is endless. Not to mention the major aesthetic affect that the couch has on your entire living room - a couch is a prime investment. Life is too short for an ugly couch. (Unless ugly couch is your thing in which case go for it!)
  • Saying someone had great shoes at a funeral isn't a bad thing. It wouldn't be at mine. As a matter of fact, I'd love to have a collection of shoes so fantastic that people commented on them after I die. Oh-so-often I have planned entire outfits around what shoes I wanted to wear. If the deceased loved shoes then talking about their great shoes is a fabulous way to honor their life once it's over.
  • "She" - not to get all feminist up here, but let's get all feminist up in here for a second. Why does it have to be a she? I have been in PLENTY of homes where it's the MAN who won't let go of the things. BUT...I also know that - as I look at my Google Analytics and my website is 80% female - this industry appeals more to women so all advertising, marketing, memes, social media and writings will be aimed to women. However, that doesn't mean we need to shame women either. Quite frankly, women have enough bullshit aimed at them as it is, and if we want to have an expensive couch and great shoes to help us along this ride we call life then I'm all for it.

Related side note: if you want to dive more about sexism and "stuff" read this interesting article in Slate.

In my years watching the organizing industry grow, I've also noticed a growing side effect: smug self-righteousness.  This notion that if you're organized you're "good" and if you're not organized you're "bad." Then once we turn organizing from life-skill to virtue, we end up with the "stuff-shaming."

She shoe-shamed me

Having things and being organized aren't mutually exclusive.

Matter of fact, let's repeat that one just so it can sink in. 

Having things and being organized aren't mutually exclusive.

You can have beautiful and/or expensive things and be organized. You can even have a LOT of things and be organized. I've even been in some homes that by and large had WAY too many things and were meticulously organized.

Where it goes awry is when we either 1) identify ourselves by our things or 2) have so many things that it affects us in negative ways.

So if it's gone awry, what do you do?

  1. Ignore shaming memes. If you feel bad already, they won't help. Feeling bad and beating yourself up doesn't change the situation so channel that energy into taking action and fixing your home.
  2. Know that you're enough. Your things don't make you good or bad. Who you are inside does, and that person is enough.
  3. Work on unraveling the situation that got you feeling like crap in first place! Set goals. Remove the things that don't align with your goals. Create systems to help things flow.

You can have lovely things and be organized. Don't let cutesy memes that mean well shame you into thinking otherwise.

Need help finding your perfect "sweet spot" of organization without being shamed during the process? I'd love to help! Start your organizing adventures today!

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